Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Leadership, Management, motivation, Relationships

Reflect your culture…?

Being a visitor too many different offices you can very easily see from the working environment what sort of culture the organisation has.

Some are very obvious, projecting their product and services with a bit of fun around the team.  The harder to identify are the big corporates, which may well have their values on display, however they don’t give much away as to what is like to work there.

Waiting for meetings in a reception area or if you are lucky a social area you can see team members come and go.  Watching the interaction of colleagues and the general vibe  as to whether they make you feel welcome says a lot about the company.

Waiting in a fun social area with a pool table and darts board with fruit and every drink imaginable you feel relaxed.  Team members come and go taking breaks and a screen flashes up photos of their people with quirky facts about them.  I got to see the face of several people I was about to meet before I met them in the flesh.

In contrast waiting in a very beige waiting area with an empty perspex magazine holder and no pictures, reflects a culture that has given up on its people.

Another example is the slick reception desk with a vast atrium and the team all in identical outfits does not show what lies beyond.

Think about your welcome area being the gateway to your business and your team.  What do you want to share?

Top Tips to reflect your culture:-

  • Welcome sign
  • Company name
  • Photos of the team (fun facts)
  • Colourful and well lit area
  • Papers/Magazines that are current or relevant to your business
  • Drinks/fruit available
  • Ensure that every member of the team who passes a visitor acknowledges them

First impressions of people happen in 7 seconds so exactly the same assessment is being about your company and your people.  Take time to get it right and work for you and your people.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on culture bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, motivation, personal impact

Habits give you freedom…

In 1898 a psychologist named Edward Thorndike conducted an experiment with cats.  Each cat was put inside a puzzle box, which was designed so that the cat could escape either by stepping on a platform, pulling a loop, pressing a lever etc…  The other side of the door would be food.  Thorndike monitored the activity and after 20 or 30 trials the behaviour became so automatic.  The cats learned to associate the action of pressing a lever with the reward of escape and food.  Thorndike described the learning process “behaviours followed by satisfying consequences tend to be repeated and those that produce unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated”

A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times that it becomes automatic.  Habits normally occur through trial and error.  Neurological ativity is high in the brain when you are working out what to do.  This is the feedback loop behind all human behaviour: try fail, learn and try differently.  Habits occur when you know what to do so you skip trial and error and create a mental rule.

Habits do not restrict freedom they create it. By making fundamentals within life easier you can create mental space needed for thinking and creativity.

Building a habit can be broken into fours steps:-

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward

The first step Cue, triggers the brain to identify whether there is a reward.  Cravings are the motivational force behind every habit.  It is not the motivation of cleaning your teeth it is being motivated by the feeling of a clean and fresh mouth.  The response is the action you take “the habit” you adopt. The reward is the final stage of the loop, they satisfy us and they teach us.  The satisfaction is obvious, the learning is the shortcut that the brain can hard wire to repeat the habit.

The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve problems with as little energy and effort as possible.

The four steps can be split into two phases:-

Problem Phase 

  1. Cue
  2. Craving

Solution Phase

  1. Response
  2. Reward

Whenever you want to change your behaviour, and create a good habit, you can simply ask yourself:-

  1. Cue – How can I make it obvious?
  2. Craving – How can I make it attractive?
  3. Response – How can I make it easy?
  4. Reward – How can I make it satisfying?

The reverse if you wish to break a bad habit, follow these steps:-

  1. Cue – Make it invisible
  2. Craving – Make it unattractive
  3. Response – Make it difficult
  4. Reward – Make it unsatisfying

To explore more around habits, read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.

Please get in touch for a workshop on habits bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, motivation

Focus on habits…

This year focus on your habits and rituals don’t get fixated on goals and outcomes.

James Clear author of Atomic Habits says

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems” 

Whilst we set a desired outcome it is our daily habits that lead us to it.

Make sure you do not let an identity from last year or even further back restrict your progress.

  • I’m terrible at strategy
  • I don’t speak up at meetings
  • I am disorganised

Take on a Growth Mindset (Carol Dweck)

  • I will think strategically
  • My voice will be heard in meetings
  • I will have a clear desk every night

Megan Hellerer career coach to high flying women in the US, talks about the approach of being Destinational or Directional.

She describes Destinational – I want to be CEO (very clear goal and outcome).  The route to this  might be copied by others who have done it before eg. a very well known path, however somewhere along that route you loose control.  You take on the habits of others and you don’t allow for deviation.  You reach the desired destination but is it what you wanted or desired.

The Directional approach allows for changes and deviations you have total control, you make your own decisions and create your systems to compliment your route to your goal.  You know that the world is not static and you move with the times.

Hellerer uses a road trip as a metaphor, Destinational follow a set road trip, they follow the guide exactly and might have a great trip, however they have not made the trip their own.

Directional co-create the trip depending on the weather and circumstances, they make their own decisions.

To summarise a quote from F.M. Alexander:-

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures..”

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Habits and Rituals bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Leadership, motivation, Relationships

Strong culture…

The way we do things around here… is the best definition of a culture.  The sum of values, habits and rituals coming together to form a way of being together.

Why is a strong culture so important?

There is a direct correlation between performance, retention and recruitment.  John Kotter and John Heskett collated statistics to prove the strength of culture.

  • Revenue is 4 x faster
  • Job creation 7 x higher
  • Profit performance 750% higher

The culture needs to be able to move, when there are changes to leadership, or mergers and acquisitions and there could even be sudden growth.  Any changes can lead to an old management structure creating sub cultures, which can be very unhealthy for the overall culture.

Sticking with your culture and values takes guts and it is about everyone have a conviction of a core ideology.

The story that makes this seem so simplistic is the Olympic rowing 8 who simply coined the phrase and ideology “Will it make the boat go faster”.   All behaviours were accountable to that one sentence.

Sustaining the culture 

Commit to regularly communicating at team meetings and having visuals around the office that support the core ideology.  Ensure that you hire to fit your culture, within the recruitment and selection include questions that explain how things get done around here.   Promote your culture by rewarding members who support it, this will embed the habits and rituals you want to see.

Cultural fit will make life easier.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Understanding culture” – bev@nuggetsoflearnign.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, motivation, personal impact, Relationships

Trust Vs Performance…

Simon Sinek talks about the balance of trust and performance.  He gives the scenario of working with the Navy Seals.

There are two levels of trust as far as they are concerned:-

  • “On the battlefield would you trust some-one with your life” – therefore saying their performance was very high
  • “Off the battlefield would you trust that person with your wife” – do they have high performance levels but very low trust levels

If you look at the table below where would you place the members of your team.

Screenshot 2019-12-02 at 16.34.28.png

  • High Performer/High Trust – might seem ideal, however they will possibly want to explore new challenges and will be hard to keep
  • Low Performer/Low Trust – might not be worth the investment of your time to develop, it will take lots of time and emotional energy
  • The most interesting column is the High Trust, you can develop Performance, with skills training and you already have a committed member of the team
  • The Low Trust column you should fear, especially the High Performer with Low Trust, how did they get there?

Reward performance on its own is creating an environment of toxicity where everyone just thinks for themselves and not others.

High Trust is a harmonious atmosphere where skills can be developed in a safe comfortable environment.

As a leader you can develop both, and it is worth categorising your team to identify the approach.

  • Performance – upskilling from a technical perspective – tends to be hard skills
  • Trust – every relationship is underpinned by Trust, so taking time out to really get to know your team members.  Invest in harnessing rapport and understanding them.

Please do contact nuggets for a workshop on working with your team as a leader bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk 

 

Posted in coaching, motivation, personal impact

Colourful coaching…

The nuggets approach to coaching is a visual map of the coachee’s thinking.

To begin working with a client the most crucial starting point is to establish good rapport.  Therefore I might even give a taster if there is no previous contact.  If the individual and company are known I still like to do the first two sessions within a fortnight of each other.

The venue ideally is away from their office, however space and seclusion are key.  Walls or a table top are crucial to display post-it notes.

When we first meet I set the scene of where coaching sits and what they should expect.  I draw three steps to show the difference between:-

  • Counselling –  past experience (not an area a coach will step into)
  • Coaching  – present  – can pass judgement and has a vested interest
  • Mentoring  – future – not necessarily vested interest and can pass judgement

As a coach I can sit between present and future and as I am employed outside the organisation I don’t necessarily have the same boundaries.  I can inspire and motivate clients to reach further than they imagine.

The first session we map out the goals that the client wants to work on.  We usual a technique called “Hexagon Mapping” this is a visual map of what they want to achieve.  A trigger question is used to get them to think around the goals.  Hexagon post its are displayed and then clustered together to create, 3 or 4 goals for the client to work on.

Using the goals as a guide each session we work through their current challenges.  I use coloured post-its notes to map their stream of consciousness.  We photograph the post-it maps created and the client has a visual memory of their thinking.  As a coach I always ensure it is their words I capture.

Purists in the coaching world believe note taking breaks the connection with client and coach.   I have worked with a coach myself and I wanted and needed the prompt of what to action and move forward with and missed having notes. The work happens between the sessions and with no permanent reminder or nod to your conscience I found it hard to commit.

The benefits and the aims of my coaching follow the path below:-

  • Take stock – evaluate how you are currently working
  • Set goals – What do you want to achieve?
  • Boost your power – new rituals and habits
  • Clear the decks – identify relationships and tasks that do not add value
  • Get confident – find your authentic self and your voice
  • Move forward – new ways of working that will stick

Identifying new rituals and habits I often find is the turning point of the sessions.  Making changes as to how you work and using fresh approaches to tasks is very uplifting and liberating often breaking some of those corporate chains.

We spend a lot of time on identifying what is authentic by talking around their personal brand.  It often helps if they think of themselves as a product, as we can learn so much from famous brands.  They have core values and a frame of reference which they can apply to themselves.

In summary Colourful coaching can uncover the real you.

  • Everyone has potential
  • Everyone can achieve higher goals
  • Everyone can work towards their dreams

Colourful coaching gives you clear images of your developmental journey and will improve your performance in work and life.

Please do get in touch for a colourful coaching session bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, motivation

Being creative – curse or gift?

I listened to the TED talk of Elizabeth Gilbert the author of “Eat, Pray, Love”.  She talks about the moment you have reached a peak in your creativity and how the question is…

“How can you top that?”

There have been many tortured creative geniuses who have suffered from poor mental health.  Often the reason is the same as Gilbert describes, constant anxiety about how you can better your last achievement.

Creativity comes into everyday life and everyone has the same levels of anxiety.  The report you produced last week that everyone loved, will you be able to get that response again.

Fear and anxiety can prevent us from thinking logically.

The sensible way of managing a gift is not to attach too much responsibility to it.  You turn up and you work hard everything will fall into place.

In ancient Greece and Rome they believed creativity was a divine entity that lived in the walls not in a person.  This all changed with the Renaissance where they recognised individuals for their creativity.  Gilbert questions this shift in responsibility, she says that it puts too much responsibility on the individual.

To manage our own talents and our own mental health, it may well be advantageous to talk  out loud to it. Take the lead and tell it that you have showed up and you are working hard, and they need to do their bit.

We often have our best ideas in the shower or while driving, maybe the ancient Greeks and Romans were onto something, and it does live in the walls.

We can all be creative and always see it as a gift, never let it freeze your thinking.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Creativity bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk